Monday, December 22, 2014

Judge denies lower bond in child sex case

By DOUG CARDER, Herald Senior Writer | 1/17/2014

LYNDON — A 38-year-old Melvern man who is facing charges in a child sex abuse case likely will remain behind bars after a judge denied a request to lower his bond in Osage County District Court.  

Ronald L. Hartpence Jr. has been charged with two counts of rape against a child younger than 14 and one count of committing aggravated indecent liberties with a different child, who also was younger than 14, according to court documents. He was arrested Jan. 4 by law enforcement officials with the Osage County Sheriff’s Office.

LYNDON — A 38-year-old Melvern man who is facing charges in a child sex abuse case likely will remain behind bars after a judge denied a request to lower his bond in Osage County District Court.  

Ronald L. Hartpence Jr. has been charged with two counts of rape against a child younger than 14 and one count of committing aggravated indecent liberties with a different child, who also was younger than 14, according to court documents. He was arrested Jan. 4 by law enforcement officials with the Osage County Sheriff’s Office.

Hartpence, clad in an orange jail jumpsuit, sat silently beside defense attorney Shannon Rush Thursday morning as Magistrate Judge Taylor J. Wine scheduled his preliminary hearing for 2:30 p.m. Feb. 6 in Osage County District Court, 717 Topeka Ave., Lyndon.

Rush, who was representing Hartpence on behalf of his regular defense attorney, James Campbell, who was unable to attend the status conference, requested that Hartpence’s $300,000 bond be reduced. Rush, an associate in the same Lyndon law firm with Campbell, said Hartpence had ties and family in the local community and that he had never missed a court appearance. Brandon Jones, Osage County attorney, opposed the bond reduction.

Wine denied Rush’s request and kept Hartpence’s bond at $300,000.

A Jan. 8 complaint filed by Jones alleges that on two separate occasions between Sept. 1, 2011, and Nov. 27, 2013, Hartpence knowingly had unlawful sexual intercourse with a child younger than 14. During the same time period, the complaint alleges, Hartpence engaged in the lewd fondling or touching of another child younger than 14.

The two rape charges each carry a sentence of life in prison, with no possibility of parole for 25 years. The penalty for aggravated indecent liberties with a child younger than 14 also is life in prison, with no possibility of parole for 25 years.

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